Larrikins in the Te Aroha district, mostly in the nineteenth century
Hart, P. (2016). Larrikins in the Te Aroha district, mostly in the nineteenth century. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 129). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10463
Larrikinism was offensive to the respectable, who worried about its causes and what was to be done to curtail it. Examples are given of the wide variety of petty but annoying behaviour indulged in by young men, at all kinds of events. Even entertainments and church services were not immune. Characteristics included bad language, loafing, noise, abuse, vulgarity, furious riding, playing football in a manner than endangered others, vandalism, and being affected by alcohol. Examples are given of the remarkable number of times that larrikins disrupted church services and meetings, along with temperance gatherings. A variety of social events were affected, and even the reading room in the library was not immune. In particular, larrikins infested the domain and its hot baths, potentially threatening the tourist trade. Annoying women was common, and New Year’s Eve provided another opportunity for making trouble. Vandalism of both public and private property caused on-going concern. And some vandals came from elsewhere to annoy the locals. To cope with larrikinism, some solutions such as special clubs for the young were suggested, but had little success, as the problem never went away. Perhaps the problem was exaggerated, for although it never went away, normally larrikinism did not lead to a life of crime. ‘Youthful high spirits’, perhaps, but irritating none the less.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart